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Tour of Qatar cancelled despite recent promotion to UCI WorldTour

Organisers cite difficulties attracting sponsors

The Tour of Qatar and Ladies Tour of Qatar have been cancelled due to difficulties attracting sponsors. Part of the UCI Asia Tour until 2016, the 2017 men’s edition had recently been upgraded to UCI WorldTour status.

Run since 2002 by Tour de France organisers Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), the Tour of Qatar found a niche for itself as a flat stage race which provided riders with good preparation for the Classics.

Tom Boonen recorded the most overall wins, emerging victorious on four occasions, while Mark Cavendish won his second title in what would prove to be the final edition earlier this year.

A UCI statement about the cancellation reads: “The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has today received notice of the cancellation of both the Tour of Qatar and Ladies Tour of Qatar. It is understood the decision follows difficulty attracting sponsor financial support.”

The 2016 World Championships were also held in Qatar and only saw small numbers of fans turning out to watch. "It's a shame to stand on the podium and realise that there are more reporters than fans present," said Tony Martin after winning the team time trial with Etixx-Quick Step.

The news comes as pro cycling prepares to welcome Bahrain-Merida and UAE Abu Dhabi, the first two WorldTour teams from the Gulf.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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